Meet the Team
Host and Co-Creator
Bejan Saeedi, MD, PhD
Bejan Saeedi is an internal medicine intern at the University of Colorado. He was a research technician for four years, then earned his MD and PhD at Emory University. The mentorship and guidance he has received from faculty, post-docs, students and staff have given him both the desire and opportunity to pursue a career in academic research. Always astounded by the willingness of physicians, physician-scientists, and scientists to open their doors and discuss their experiences, Bejan sought a venue to preserve those stories and share them with the broader scientific community. This is that venue.
Co-Creator and Executive Producer
Joe Behnke, PhD
Joe Behnke is an eighth-year MD/PhD student whose thesis research focused on modeling traumatic injury in Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) as a means to understand the long-term consequences of mild head injury. Joe defended his PhD in 2021 and is now a 4th year medical student applying to diagnostic radiology residency. In his spare time, Joe is an avid golfer, amateur pizzaiolo and James Bond enthusiast.
Michael Sayegh, PhD
Michael Sayegh is an MD-PhD student whose PhD research involved the design of anti-inflammatory hydrogels for the treatment of cardiac ischemia and peripheral artery disease. He is currently in his 4th year of medical school and is applying to internal medicine residency. Michael sees the podcast as a way to uncover the hidden curriculum of physician-scientist training, and a vehicle to share experiences on the path. Outside of the lab/hospital, Michael can be found in Atlanta's parks and coffeeshops.
Carey Jansen, PhD
Carey Jansen is an MD/PhD student, occasional foodie, and new mom. Her PhD involved the study of mechanisms related to immune infiltration and organization in human cancers. She is currently in the midst of third-year medical school clerkships. Carey is passionate about science communication, mentoring younger students, and helping foster a spirit of community and collaboration amongst aspiring scientists, physicians, and physician-scientists. In her spare time, you may often find Carey in the stands at an Atlanta Braves baseball game or adventuring her standard poodle, Smoltz!
Director - Art & Design
Sarah Hunter-Chang is a PhD student studying the role of axonal spheroids in neurodegeneration at the University of Virginia. She received her BSc in neuroscience and behavioral biology from Emory University in 2018, after which she worked as a research technician for two years. She is dedicated to outreach and inclusion in science, in line with her beliefs that art can diversify access to research, that good mentors exponentially create good mentors and, therefore, good science, and that anyone who can bake cookies can probably also do molecular biology. When not in the lab or working on the next Behind the Microscope illustration, Sarah can usually be found crashing through the woods on a trail run or finding new ways to put cereal in dessert.
Nielson Weng, MD, PhD
Nielson Weng is an internal medicine intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. After receiving his undergraduate degree from University of California, Berkeley, he went on to earn his MD and PhD from Stanford University. Nielson is interested in pursuing an academic career in GI with a research focus on the characterization of dietary and microbial molecules and their interactions with the enteric nervous system. Nielson is fascinated by the history of science and medicine and how physicians, scientists, and physician-scientists have led to breakthroughs that shaped the current field of medicine. Benefiting enormously from listening to Behind the Microscope, he is excited to join the team to help more people to learn from the stories and experiences of those who have tread the path previously. In his spare time, he loves riding roller coasters, watching horror movies, going to museums, hiking, and going to dance workshops.
Brian Robinson, MD, PhD
Brian Robinson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and works as a Gastrointestinal Pathologist in Emory’s Division of Anatomic Pathology. As a physician-scientist with extensive training in gastrointestinal and Liver Pathology, Brian is interested in understanding how developmental signaling pathways, particularly ROS-related signaling pathways, influence epithelial homeostasis in the intestine and contribute to tumorigenesis. Brian is enthusiastic about academic medicine, and is passionate about engaging young students and trainees towards understanding the process of science so that they are equipped to drive future advances. When not in lab, or working in the hospital, Brian enjoys playing Baseball with his wife and two kids, playing guitar, eating Pizza, and jogging with friends.
Mary Horton, PhD, MA, MPH
Mary Kollmer Horton joined the UT Health Sciences Houston McGovern Medical School in 2020 with affiliations in both Educational Programs and the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics. Dr. Horton has over twenty-five years of experience working with medical and graduate students in the areas of academic and professional development. She has presented nationally on physician scientist training as well as on graduate and professional student success and wellness, and is passionate about shepherding students toward success.
Dr. Horton holds two master’s degrees in Sociomedical Sciences (MPH) and Psychiatric Epidemiology (MA) and a doctorate in interdisciplinary humanities studies in the areas of history of medicine, philosophy of medicine and sociology of education. Her scholarly interests include: the use of humanities in health professional education, history of psychiatry, gerontology, and student success and wellness.
Talia Swartz, MD, PhD
Talia H. Swartz, MD, PhD, is Senior Associate Dean for MD-PhD Education, Director of the MD-PhD Program, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Medical Education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Talia is passionate about physician-scientist training as a physician-scientist herself, caring for people with HIV and studying inflammatory signaling in chronic HIV infection. She’s the Director of the MD-PhD Program at Mount Sinai, a member of the AAMC GREAT Steering Committee, and Chair of the AAMC GREAT MD-PhD Section Communications Committee, hoping to enhance the diversity of the physician-scientist workforce. Outside of work, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and two kids and playing with their dogs and cat.
Christopher Williams, MD, PhD
Christopher S. Williams is an Associate Dean for Physician-Scientist Education and Training, Professor of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Harrison Society, serves as Director of the Vanderbilt MSTP. Dr. Williams is an alumnus of the Vanderbilt MSTP and obtained his residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine followed by a fellowship in gastroenterology. Dr. Williams is a physician-scientist with clinical interests in epithelial biology, intestinal wound healing and carcinogenesis. Dr. Williams has served as an MSTP Advising College Leader since 2011 and was named Director in May 2016.
Emma D'Agostino, PhD
Emma D’Agostino is a medical writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her PhD in biochemistry at Emory University, specializing in structure-based drug design. She received her undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill (Go Heels!). She believes that science can be accessible to all with the right analogy. Outside of work, she is a patient advocate with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and a consumer representative with the FDA, and is passionate about using her scientific knowledge to benefit patient communities. She has spent the last year isolated with her two feline roommates and spends her spare time horseback riding and scheming to acquire more animals.
Raven Peterson, PhD
Raven Peterson earned their PhD at Emory University in 2021 conducting research focused on cell adhesion with an interest in cell/material interactions. In addition to research, they are passionate about science education and communication and they believe that talking about the history of scientific discovery is a critical part of creating social change. They are also a strong advocate for peer mentorship and enjoys working with graduate and undergraduate students to develop scientific and professional skills. In their free time, they enjoy reading, cooking, sculpting, and metal working.
Hannah Turbeville, MD, PhD
Hannah Turbeville is an otolaryngology resident at the University of Michigan. She received her MD and PhD from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where her research focused on the long-term effects of preeclampsia and the therapeutic potential of sildenafil in reducing chronic disease risk. She previously graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science, where she completed a thesis project on the diagnosis of prostate cancer using circulating serum markers. She has held a number of leadership roles, most recently serving as the President of the American Physician Scientists Association from 2020-2021. In various leadership capacities for the organization since 2016, she has coordinated or assisted with numerous events and initiatives, including the 2019 Physician Scientist Trainee Diversity Summit. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and a recipient of several awards including the Robert A. Mahaffey, Jr. Memorial Award, the Caroline tum Suden/Francis A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award and was a finalist for the Portland Press Predoctoral Research Recognition Award. She is looking forward to the next stage of her training as a surgeon scientist in Ann Arbor with her husband Patrick and German Shepherd dog Havoc.